Having failed to provide information regarding the charges of hiring cars of the Malda district judges within a month, the district nodal official, right to information cell, Mr Pratyarpan Singha Ray has sought clarification from the judicial department.

He wanted to know the name of the Assistant Public Information Officer (ASPIO) who would be able to provide information about the district judges’ car hire charges in response to an applicant based on the Right to Information Act.

A month back an English Bazaar resident Mr Rajesh Choudhury had submitted an application to Malda RTI cell.

He wanted to know about the system of car hire for the judges in Malda Court in last 10 years. Mr Choudhury wanted to know “whether the cars for the judges have been hired without floating a tender, the amount the department pays for the cars per day, how they increased the payment for the hired car from Rs 200 to 250 per day and if the department floated a tender for this enhancement”.

He also asked if the judges were entitled to use air-conditioned cars and the distance they travelled everyday”.

Interestingly, the nodal officer Mr Singha Roy had sent the application to the Malda district judge to let him know of the matter. But the letter was sent back to the nodal official. “I had mistaken... being a nodal officer I cannot send such a letter to the district judge. I will have to ask the departmental ASPIO to inform the judge regarding the matter,” he told The Statesman.

It may be noted that the district had sent the matter to the West Bengal Information Commission. On 24 October, the secretary of the commission wrote a letter to the district authorities including the district magistrate and sub-divisional officer asking them to dispose of the matter of Mr Rajesh Choudhury. The secretary had also mentioned points with reference to articles numbers of the Act.

But the file is gathering dust now. “I have sent a letter to the judiciary department to know the name of ASIPO. It would be easy to resolve the matter if we get to know who the ASPIO of the judicial department in this district is,” said Mr Singha Ray.

According to him, 120 persons had submitted applications since the introduction of RTI cell here. Almost all applications have been forwarded to the concerned departments. Some departments replied promptly and few of them did not.